Thursday, February 16, 2006

GAME PLAN: SENATE INTELLIGENCE COMMITTEE

Below, action we can take to respond to Pat Roberts' betrayal of his word of honor to Jay Rockefeller -- a VichyDems Game Plan.

First, in a nutshell, here's what happened Thursday:

The White House knows the NSA's warrantless wiretaps of American citizens is illegal, unconstitutional, and an impeachable offense.

The Republicans in Congress know that if the issue stays on the public's radar, those Democrats who stand tall for civil liberties will kick their asses in November.

Pat Roberts, the Republican Chair of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, promised the ranking minority member of that Committee, Jay Rockefeller, last week that the Committee would hold hearings into the NSA question. That Committee was scheduled to vote today on Rockefeller's motion to conduct such hearings. But the White House pressured Roberts to break his promise, which put him in a quandary -- given Chuck Hagel's fencesitting on the question (and, I'd like to think, our phone/fax/email blitz yesterday, which told the senators that we were paying attention), Roberts was not certain that the Committee would risk the voters' ire by voting not to hold hearings.

So, instead, he unilaterally pulled a procedural maneuver to prevent the vote from even happening. Not only will there not be Senate Intelligence Committee hearings into admitted warrantless wiretaps of American citizens, but its Chair won't even allow it to vote on whether to hold such hearings.

That cannot stand. All we can do is register our outrage -- but we sure as hell can REGISTER OUR OUTRAGE!

So the Game Plan is simple:

Call Jay Rockefeller and the other Democratic senators on the Committee and tell them how outraged you are about the Republicans' maneuvering, and tell them they have your support.

Call Pat Roberts and the other Republican senators on the Committee -- at both their DC AND DISTRICT offices -- and tell them, ABSTAINING FROM OBSCENITY, how very, very furious you are about the Republicans' refusal to honor their oath of office and investigate the legality of the White House/NSA surveillance program, to exercise oversight, or to protect Americans' rights. Be polite but vent your ire in no uncertain terms. Make his staffers wish they had taken jobs with Democrats. Make sure every Senator hears the buzz that not only are people calling, but that they're mad as hell.

Contact information for the Senate Intelligence Committee and each of its members can be found in the bottom half of the post HERE.


Remember, part of our goal is to teach our representatives that the grassroots are waking up, paying attention and getting mad. That means telling them what we want BEFORE they take action, then telling them how we feel about it AFTER they act. Both halves of the equation are equally important. And it's gonna be gratifying to let it all out for a change!

So saddle up, patriots. We've still got work to do.

SUPPLEMENT, 10:14 PM E.T.: According to the Washington Post, the maneuvering in the Intelligence Committee was a little more complicated than I gathered from reading Rockefeller's press release, which directly criticized Roberts for breaking his promise and preventing the vote on Rockefeller's motion. Apparently the Committee members DID vote -- though not on whether to hold hearings, but rather on whether to vote to hold hearings. Roberts had them vote not to vote: a substantive decision disguised as a procedural one.

Snowe --who's walking a fine line, being up for re-election in November -- said she wants to postpone hearings while the White House engages in "good-faith negotiations." Who thinks the White House will negotiate "in good faith"?

7 comments:

Benoit Lapierre said...

hi
your blog is very interesting
keep on going , you do great job.

Thersites D. Scott said...

Thanks, benoit!

Here's something to buck up the disheartened, thanks to Celo over at Glenn Greenwald's:

"Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views beyond the comprehension of the weak; and that it is doing God's service when it is violating all his laws." - John Quincy Adams

To which I'll add: and that sort of Power always topples itself, bearing, as the Taoists say, the seeds of its own destruction.

ina said...

disheartened is an understatement. I mean, I figured even if they voted for an investigation, there would never be criminal charges brought. But I thought it was worth it to at least have it in the news cycle as long as possible "senate investigation continues into possible illegal wiretapping..."

I guess since we're starting at the very bottom we have a long climb ahead of us. But really, can't we get our team to buy a media company??

Thersites D. Scott said...

ina:

Disheartened is right. But at least this time, we didn't beat ourselves -- we didn't have our own players selling us out. It's not as bad when the other team plays dirty, right out in the open, where everyone can see.

And the fight's not over. There's still one Senate committee that will, and two House Committees that could, address the question. If they all choose not to hold hearings, the cumulative effect might finally get the MSM's attention. And if any DO hold hearings, we've got a forum.

I'm more worried about narrow, fast hearings -- the WH "fixing" the problem and the Congressional Rs then dropping it, saying it's all OK.

Anyway, stay tuned for more fight to come, and please make some thankful/angry calls tomorrow.

CTPatriot said...

Well, I tried to give a piece of my mind to Rockefeller's DC staff, but the gentleman who took my call claimed that anything to do with the Intelligence committee is handled elsewhere because it is secret. He transferred me to the Intelligence Committee staff. The woman who answered was terrific and understanding.

I left feedback for ALL of the democratic senators on the committee about my disgust with the cancelled investigation, the way it had been done, and the brokering of a deal to Amend FISA between Pat Roberts and the White House. I let them know I was sick and tired of watching the Dems get rolled.

I then called Reid's office and let his staffer know how pissed I was with Rockefeller's office and suggested that if they can't or won't defend the constitution to please resign.

You know, these people took an oath to defend the constitution and yet here they are twiddling their thumbs while Bush ADMITS to violating the law and the constitution, and doing zilch about it. I can easily see this ending up as another Alito or PATRIOT Act deal where the Dems just shrug their shoulders and feel like they won because some of them voted no.

Meanwhile, this country marches closer to 1930's Germany with each passing day.

Sorry to be so negative, but I am so sick and tired of calling the Dems in congress. I truly don't believe that, other than a select few, the Senate Democrats give e a crap about anything other than retaining their cushy jobs.

I swore after the Alito debacle that I wasn't going to make another call to congress. I violated that today only to experience the same kind of BS from Rockefeller's office - the same Rockefeller that voted FOR cloture on Alito.

Fuck em. I'll put my time into something that can hopefully make a difference - helping Ned Lamont take Joe Lieberman's seat (www.nedlamont.com).

Thersites D. Scott said...

ctpatriot:

I completely understand your frustration, and am even writing a separate post to address it. But don't give up -- summer soldiers, sunshine patriots, all that.

BTW, Rockefeller's the good guy in all this. He's mad as hell. It's chairman Pat Roberts who needs chastising.

You also point out a really interesting obstacle. When Senators' staff say they can't handle comments about Intelligence, let's try not to accept it. Say you just want to leave a comment. Call the District Offices to leave comments. If at all possible, keep trying to have the word come at them from all directions.

WisconsinLarry said...

Saturday Update-- Intell Committee
Just finished my calls to the Intell committee (bit of a late start today) and think that it is starting to work.

Roberts DC voice mail box is full so try the district offices. Lott's DC phone and 2 of his District phone's do not answer at all. Fienstein's DC phone is not taking voice mail but her San Francisco office is.

After pushing for an investigation, I also remind them that if they do not hold the president accoutable to the law, there is not much point in passing more laws.